Joseph L. Mankiewicz once said, “The difference between life and the movies is that a script has to make sense, and life doesn’t.” When I think about Clint Eastwood‘s “American Sniper,” which crushed the box-office last weekend with over $100 million in four days and garnered more Academy Award nominations than anyone expected, Mankiewicz’ words resonate all the clearer. The controversy this film ignited due to its success makes less sense than its incredible box-office numbers. Buckets of acid are being flung at the film’s supposed pro-American propagandist attitude, heroic celebration of its protagonist, and its rewriting of the Iraq war. The purported negative stigma of “American Sniper” can be summed up in this Storify page from independent journalist Rania Khalek, using reactions from certain audience members as fuel for her fiery accusations.
This fervent reaction is troubling because, within this whirlpool of flying dung, a lot of people seem to be forgetting a crucial factor: the movie itself. “American Sniper” is not a piece of pro-American propaganda, it doesn’t rewrite the Iraq occupation, it doesn’t celebrate Chris Kyle as a hero, it doesn’t downplay PTSD, and it doesn’t glorify war. The worst, legitimate, politicized accusation one can throw at the film is that its Iraqi characters are one-dimensional, pointing out one especially brutal scene featuring a drill and a terrorist nicknamed The Butcher that feels like a “24” episode guest-directed by Quentin Tarantino (even though, apparently, The Butcher is based on a real Shia warlord). Since the film’s primary focus isn’t an “us vs. them” mentality, but more a “man vs. war” one, the concern of depicting the villains as one-dimensional couldn’t have been a big one for Eastwood. It would have reportedly been for Steven Spielberg, the original director attached to the project. But once he stepped off, and Eastwood took over, a different kind of film was born. Since I’d take subtlety over sentimentality any day of the week, I’m pretty happy with how that went down.Read More Post a comment (1)
In just over 70 hours the city of Montreal is going to become very weird. The good kind of weird of course because it’s time for the Fantasia Film Festival to smear the city’s screens with the sweaty blood and bloody tears of the wondrously bizarre cult classics from the future and the past of genre filmmaking. Films from all over the world – but mostly from Asia because let’s face it, no one does the bizarre like the Asians – will be exposed in the one-day- sliced-off-three-weeks fest aiming to awaken your senses and make you wish you could tear out of your skin.Read More Post a comment (0)
It wasn’t that long ago that my 25 musts (+ 20 honorables) got published. During my research for that, I was bumping shoulders with movies that were appearing in almost every list as highly anticipated but that, for this reason or another, I just couldn’t bring myself to give two tugs of a dog’s ball-sack about. (Thank you Mr. Warren Ellis for giving me an idiom I will cherish forever). Rather than bitterly think about these highly-anticipated-highly-likely-turds in my own head and curse under my breath every time I hear someone praising them or read something anticipating them, I decided to share my complete lack of enthusiasm on The Grapevine.
Do you agree with me? Do you fervently disagree? Wanna fight about it? Come at me in the comments here, or my Facebook page, or my Twitter and let’s discuss why I think these very popular movies will probably suck. Hit the jump for the 2 by 2 list that’s in no order.Read More Post a comment (0)
While reading the premise for Todd Berger’s It’s A Disaster my eyes were anxiously opening wider and wider at the thought of watching a smart, quirky, hilarious new comedy with the always-funny David Cross and shamefully underrated Julia Stiles. No other names from the cast list rang any bells apart from America Ferrera whom I only know by name, not talent, so I thought this was an opportunity to perhaps make a new discovery of some undiscovered star finally getting their moment to shine in an independent comedy that did the festival rounds last year and was received quiet well. Even now, It’s A Disaster is anything but according to most critics, as the doomsday brunch comedy swings comfortably to and fro the fresh 70 percentile at RottenTomatoes.
So imagine my disappointment when the end credits annoyingly slapped me in the face with the realization that the only real disaster here was my wasted time.Read More Post a comment (0)
This will eventually become a tab of itself entitled “5 FOR or AGAINST” where I give my 5 good reasons for or against a particular movie. I did something similar for Silver Linings Playbook a while ago where I listed 5 good reasons why it’s worth seeing, even though I wasn’t particularly enamoured with it. Now I turn to outrageously lauded French brother filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne and their latest, 2012’s Kid with a Bike, to give you 5 good reasons why it failed to convert me into appreciating the handiwork of the Dardenne signature. Perhaps their ink is too dry for the likes of me! haHA!
5 good reasons await you after the jump.Read More Post a comment (0)
Because the film is such an artistic inspiration I feel like the only way I can properly express my love for it is in the form of a short love letter:Read More Post a comment (0)
You can exhale now, it’s over. Oscar season 2012-2013 is officially withering further and further away into the incoherent past as I type this sentence. By the time you finish reading this article Harvey Weinstein ( for those of you in the unknown, he’s the mogul behind SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK) will be mounting a whole new campaigning strategy for next year’s Oscar onslaught. This is of course after he finishes beating up a few interns to a bloody pulp down in the basement of his office. (Harvey didn’t have such a great night last night you see…)
The Oscar was an unpredictable horse in this year’s race especially in the SUPPORTING ACTOR, DIRECTING, BEST ACTRESS, both SCREENPLAYS and EDITING categories. Seth MacFarlane, the man behind the hilariously crude and at times too-bad-for-its-own-good Family Guy and that creepy botox smile, was hosting for the fist time ever and people didn’t know whether to peg him like a Gervais a la Globes or a Crystal a la Academy. Better yet, Risky Ricky or Boring Billy? Truth is he was neither, somewhere in the middle and in my opinion – kindofa dissapointment overall.
But enough! I will be going through the highlights and the lowlights of last night’s
Tony Awards Broadway Show Episode of Celebrity Intervention Academy Awards right after the cut. But first, did you know that PICTURE, ACTOR, ACTRESS, DIRECTOR, SUPPORTING ACTOR and SUPPORTING ACTRESS all represented different films? Love it when the wealth is spread like that. Ok, now on to the GOOD, BAD and UGLY.
A NOTE ON THE 2nd VERSION:
This second list only looks at the films seen in theaters and festivals during the 2012 calendar year. So a film with a 2012 North American release date seen in 2011 will not be here. A film that will be released to the public in 2013 but was seen in 2012 will be. New, bigger, greyer arrows for navigation. Hover over the edges and they will magically appear to direct you.
- THE 2012 FESTIVAL & THEATER VERSION.
- 10. DJANGO UNCHAINEDdirected by QUENTIN TARANTINO
- 9. LIFE OF PIdirected by ANG LEE
- 8. THE IMPOSTERdirected by BART LAYTON
- 7. ZERO DARK THIRTY
directed by KATHRYN BIGELOW
- 6. TO THE WONDER
directed by TERRENCE MALICK
- 5. AMOUR
directed by MICHAEL HANEKE
- 4. TABUdirected MIGUEL GOMES
- 3. POST TENEBRAS LUXdirected by CARLOS REYGADAS
- 2. LEVIATHAN
directed by VERENA PARAVEL & LUCIEN CASTAING-TAYLOR
- 1. HOLY MOTORSdirected by LEOS CARAX
- HONORABLE MENTIONS
-THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
-KILLING THEM SOFTLY
-RUST AND BONE
- THE OFFICIAL NORTH AMERICAN RELEASE VERSION.
10. LIFE OF PIdirected by ANG LEE
9. THE IMPOSTERDIRECTED BY BART LAYTON
- 8. ZERO DARK THIRTY
- 7. AMOURDIRECTED BY MICHAEL HANEKE
- 4. ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIAdirected by NURI BILGE CEYLAN
- 3. TABUdirected by MIGUEL GOMES
- 1. THE TURIN HORSEdirected by BELA TARR
- STAY TUNED FOR VERSION 2 WITH 4 DIFFERENT FILMS. ALSO: HONORABLE MENTIONS.